The Legend of Tarzan: Film Review


I was never particularly convinced about The Legend of Tarzan and that’s mostly because I love the Disney animation and didn’t think it was necessary. While this shows us a different version of the story, it is pretty slow and dull, distinctly average, and lacks substance.

Alexander Skarsgard is John Clayton III, who was raised in the jungle by apes as Tarzan and is now back in England with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) in 1884. John is asked to return to the Congo on a trade expedition, but he is only convinced to go when George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) tells him King Leopold of Belgium is capturing slaves and robbing the region of diamonds. Tarzan and Jane return to the jungle with George to try and save it but hit a snag with King Leopold’s right-hand man Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz).

This gets off to a very slow start and the pacing is off from then. You want action from the beginning, with Tarzan swinging through the trees, but you have to sit patiently through a lot of fluff, flashbacks and England-based drama, until you get to that moment. It’s just so very dull and you don’t feel excited until a good chunk of the way through. I wanted it to be a fun action adventure but it just wasn’t. In fact, it was a pretty joyless affair.


One of the main problems for me was Skarsgard himself. Sure, he looks the part (his abs are insane) but his character isn’t developed at all and he’s very boring. There are a couple of flashes of humour and I thought ‘yes, this is what we need’ but then it disappears again. Jackson was his usual self, which I love, and Robbie was feisty and sassy. I wanted to see more of Jane. Waltz has played the same character so many times now – I’m surprised he wants to keep being the villain.

The CGI of the jungle and animals is very impressive at times (not consistently) but it’s obvious they’re not there and you’re watching a CGI fest. I liked that we saw a different side to Tarzan and it wasn’t simply an origins story. I wasn’t invested in anyone (besides the animals) but the later fight scenes and the finale was very good. I just wish the whole thing had been more at that level – but by that point, you don’t care enough for it to have the impact it should. How very disappointing.

In cinemas now 

SEE ALSO: Picture gallery from the London premiere


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